Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a last-second comeback against the Indianapolis Colts and ESPN benefited from the thrilling contest as Monday Night Football drew just under 15 million watchers.
The Sept. 15 telecast averaged 14.9 million viewers from 8:15-11:30 p.m. (ET), according to Nielsen data. That was up 4% from the 14.3 million viewers who watched the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in the corresponding MNF telecast last season.
The Eagles-Colts telecast averaged a 9.2 household U.S. rating and 10.7 million households. It peaked in the 9:30 p.m. quarter hour with a 10.2 rating and just under 17 million viewers.
The delivery helped ESPN win the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. The MNF game also ranked as the top telecast of the night across cable and broadcast in those same categories.
Through the first two weeks and three games, MNF is averaging an 8.2 rating, 9.59 million households and nearly 13.4 million watchers, down from an 8.8 rating and 14.1 million viewers at the same stage of the 2013 campaign.
Although the worldwide leader scored with 13.7 million viewers with its coverage of the Detroit Lions’ demolition of the New York Giants in the 2014 season opener, the Sept. 8 telecast was down 17% from its first game of the 2013 MNF schedule, when 16.5 million saw Chip Kelly lead the Eagles past NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins, by a 33-27 count, in his coaching debut.
That record audience for a MNF opener, combined with 10.9 million for Houston-San Diego in the nightcap, to give ESPN an average audience of 13.7 million, the top performance since it began airing the doubleheader format in 2006, when it acquired the franchise from ABC.
Sept. 8’s second game – an 18-17 win by the Arizona Cardinals over the Chargers – averaged 11.5 million viewers, up 5.5% from 10.9 million a year ago.